Buckley, William Frank, Jr.

Buckley, William Frank, Jr., 1925–2008, American editor, author, and lecturer, b. New York City, grad. Yale, 1946. A popular, eloquent, and witty spokesman for the conservative point of view, Buckley helped found the modern conservative movement and played an important part in promoting the growth of American conservatism during the second half of the 20th century. A lifelong Catholic, he was also a staunch defender of Judeo-Christian morality. He first came to national attention with the publication of his book God and Man at Yale (1951), a scathing attack on his alma mater for its alleged secular outlook and left-wing political bias. An editor for The American Mercury (1951–52), he founded (1955) the National Review, which soon became the leading journal of conservativism in the United States; he edited the magazine until 1990 and had a controlling interest in it until 2004. In 1965 he was an unsuccessful candidate for mayor of New York City, a campaign he described in The Unmaking of a Mayor (1966). He hosted (1966–99) the Emmy-winning public-affairs television show “Firing Line,” and wrote (1962–2008) a syndicated column, “On the Right.” He wrote more than 50 books, both fiction and nonfiction. His novelistic accounts of the adventures of an American spy during the cold war include Saving the Queen (1976), Marco Polo, If You Can (1982), A Very Private Plot (1994), and Last Call for Blackford Oakes (2005). He also wrote The Redhunter (1999), a largely favorable fictional portrayal of Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

See his Nearer, My God (1997) and Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography (2004); memoir by his son, C. Buckley, Losing Mum and Pup (2009); biographies by J. Judis (1988), L. Bridges and J. R. Coyne, Jr. (2008), and C. T. Bogus (2011); A. S. Felzenberg, A Man and His Presidents: The Political Odyssey of William F. Buckley (2017).

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